UNI Study: 70% of Iowans willing to change behavior to improve water quality


(Jason Mrachina/Creative Commons)
(Jason Mrachina/Creative Commons)
KC McGinnis | April 5, 2016

A survey conducted by researchers at the University of Northern Iowa shows that a majority of Iowans would be willing to change their behavior to help improve water quality.

The study, Public Perceptions of Water Quality in Iowa: A Statewide Survey, produced by the UNI Center for Social & Behavioral Research, recorded answers to a range of questions posed to Iowans on their views on water quality. 70% of those surveyed said they would be willing to change a single behavior to improve water quality. These changes in behavior could be as simple as going to a car wash instead of washing on the street or in a driveway, where water carrying detergents and residue from exhaust fumes goes untreated into storm drains that discharge directly into waterways.

Since most Iowans (80%) reportedly prefer using a car wash anyway, they may need to find additional behavioral changes that can contribute to improving water quality. These include refraining from pouring fat or oils down the drain (instead collecting the fat in a jar or other container as a solid), avoiding the garbage disposal and composting instead, going meatless one day per week, and even placing a brick in a toilet tank to save water when flushing. Each of these simple practices is proven to save water and reduce strain on waterway infrastructure.

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